Botanical Wonders of Chelsea Physic Garden

This July, 40 members of the GDST alumnae community visited the fascinating Chelsea Physic Garden in the first Alumnae Cultural Event since the pandemic. 

With a hubbub of chatter and smiles all round, excitement was in the air on Tuesday 4 July as alumnae caught up with friends, old and new, at Chelsea Physic Garden. Despite another stereotypically overcast day in the Great British Summer and difficulties of the last four years, it was clear that the GDST spirit remains stronger than ever.

Sitting on the Thames Embankment, and sheltered by high walls, Chelsea Physic Garden is one of the oldest and most respected botanic gardens in Europe, and the oldest in London. Founded in 1673 by The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London for its apprentices to study medicinal plants and their uses, the Garden’s plant collection is unique in being the only botanic garden collection focused on medicinal, herbal and useful plants.

The day began with a private guided tour led by two brilliant volunteer guides. Both tour groups weaved through the four-acres of green space, exploring the ‘Garden of Useful Plants’, ‘Cool Fernery’, and the ‘Garden of Edible Plants.’ From the oldest olive tree in the UK, to highly toxic plants, medicinal cures and an impressive cacti collection, there certainly was something for everyone. And at each step of the way, the passion and knowledge of the guides sparked many curious questions from alumnae members.

After the tour, they headed to the Physic Garden Café to enjoy a light lunch put on by the catering team. Here, the group caught up with other members of the alumnae community, and shared their new-found botanical knowledge. On a final wander around the Garden, a bumble bee was spotted grazing on a nearby flower.

Keep informed of our latest events

We were delighted to re-launch our alumnae cultural events programme and look forward to hosting more in the future. To keep informed of upcoming events, keep an eye out on our socials and sign up to the alumnae network portal.